Students nationwide are wrapping up their last few days of high school, eager to continue their education to prepare for their professional career of choice. While many are planning to follow the “traditional track” at a university, there are many students who are about to set out on a less traditional path to prepare for a career as a skilled tradesperson. And though this choice is often viewed as unusual, we believe that these students should be celebrated for making the smart decision to learn a skilled trade.
Luckily, we aren’t alone. Recently, the industry celebrated SkillsUSA National Signing Day, a special day in which high school seniors and postsecondary students are celebrated for choosing a skilled trade profession. SkillsUSA chapters throughout the country hosted signing day events with business partners, teachers and elected officials along with students’ family and friends, to celebrate students for signing “letters of intent” to learn a trade, whether through technical training, an apprenticeship or an entry-level job.
Even this week and in the weeks that follow, we should be celebrating these students’ commitment to a career in construction. After all, this decision might have been more challenging to make than others. Many Ohio students might be facing pressures from well-meaning parents, trying to convince them to head to college instead. Others might be receiving recommendations from teachers to reconsider their choice and go for a four-year degree.
The decision to learn a skilled trade is the right one for many. Not only are they helping to fill a major gap in our workforce, but they are setting their lives up for success in more ways than one:
They Will See Financial Success From the Beginning
Skilled trades provide individuals with the opportunity to begin earning right away. Not only are students smart for choosing a career that will pay them a competitive wage as they learn their trade, they will take on less debt than their classmates who go to a university to prepare for their career.
They Can Enjoy Guaranteed Opportunities
Students can look forward to job security for years to come. The labor gap plaguing the construction industry is still wide. A recent survey by the National Association of Business Economics (NABE) found that about half of respondents reported a skilled labor shortage in the third quarter of 2021. Some of the top skilled trades facing labor shortages include:
- HVAC specialists
They Can Expect Higher Job Satisfaction
Students setting out on a skilled trades path can feel confident knowing that they are following their passion. By trusting their instincts, students that are choosing to learn a skilled trade are sure to find greater success and overall job satisfaction. In fact, Angi Research and Economics found that 83% of tradespeople report being somewhat or extremely satisfied with their line of work.
Choosing a career in construction is a reason to celebrate. Let’s all shine a light on students setting out on a skilled trades journey this month. We encourage you to take the time to honor their commitment to their chosen career through thoughtful letters, celebratory parties and more. Their decision will positively impact them and our communities for years to come.
Photo from https://www.skillsusa.org/